Colorado River Northwest Fishing Report

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October 29th, 2009

LAKE POWELL — Report courtesy Wayne Gustaveson, Utah Division of Wildlife. October 28, 2009
Lake Elevation: 3633. Water Temp: 62-64 F

A fantastic fishing season is drawing to a close. It has been a banner year for all species. Habitat, food/forage and fish numbers have peaked at near optimum conditions. Great fishing will continue into the winter months, but his will be my last report for a while. Now it is time for me to go to work sampling fish on the lake. I will be on the water during the week and not near a computer for awhile. Reports will continue sporadically as something news worthy happens. I leave you with this advice.

Today shad are still in the shallows with bass and stripers standing guard in close proximity. But a winter storm is bearing down which will drop water temperature into the 50s. Soon winter fishing patterns will be in place. That means topwater fishing is almost over for the year. It is wise to have a surface lure hooked up during November, just in case, but the real catching will be done at depth.

We fished this morning in Warm Creek. Shad schools were swimming happily in the shallows with little regard for any threat. A surface lure did hook a couple of small bass but the action was slow. Later in the morning we left shallow water and began graphing for stripers. There were none in the creek channel at 25 feet nor any at the next drop to 45 feet. It was not until we reached mid channel and mid bay where bottom depth registered 60 feet that we saw a fish school close to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and stripers cooperated. The spot was marked with a float for reference. During the first flurry we put four fish quickly in the boat. Then we returned to the marker and caught more. Each time we lost the school we circled the marker until the school was located. Each time spoons were dropped while fish were on the graph fish were hooked.

This will be the striper pattern for the next two months. Find a school on the graph in deep water then quickly drop spoons, stump jumpers or swim baits to get the school excited. We try to keep a hooked fish in the water column as long as possible to keep the school from drifting away. Schoolies tend to follow a fish that is feeding/hooked. Likewise a fish that comes unhooked and swims away often takes the whole school with him. When that happens return to the marker and start the search over.

We caught 30 stripers (2-4 pounds) in 2 hours after spending 3 unproductive early hours fishing too shallow. Winter time success comes from fishing deliberately in deep water for specific targets. Striper bass, walleye and catfish can all be taken in this manner.

Unfortunately bass fishing will slow with each degree of cooling. November fishing will be fair only to grind to a halt in December and January. Surprisingly, crappie fishing will improve with November being perhaps the best month of the year for fishing success. Crappie will be schooled in the densest brush shelters in the canyon. Fish vertically in heavy cover with small curly tail grubs for best results.

Walleye are good winter fish with most of them caught in the northern lake near Hite. Catfish success declines with cooling. For the rest of the year stripers, walleye and crappie are the best fish to target.


LEES FERRY Oct. 25, 2009 by Lees Ferry Anglers
Report by: Ted Welling
Sunday, October 25th, 2009

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Today’s Fish rating
Upriver: 6.50
Walk-In: 6.50
Key: 1 = Go fish somewhere else
10 = Rent a helicopter and get here now!

Today’s Weather: Mostly Sunny, High 72, Low 43

Up River crowd rating
2.0 No crowd
Walk In: 1.0 No Crowds
Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want.
10 = Very crowded, get up early

Fly Fishing: Fishing has been reported as very good, started a little slow yesterday morning but, picked up as the day progressed. We are still wading the gravel bars, fishing a dry- dropper rig over the back eddies and a longer leader and a double nymph rig as we drift the channel. I anchored just outside 6mile island and fished from the boat and did well using a scud and a San Juan worm. As I lifted anchor to drift that section I pulled up a pad of moss that was filled with scuds, a delightful sight. The weather has been perfect, the reason October is my favorite month to fish the ferry.

Walk in: Had a report today for this section, fished well. Most fish landed were taking the San Juan worm. Most colors are working but, the favorite is the natural or the worm brown. I have started to color the front quarter of the worm dark brown and leaving the back section tan and putting an orange collar just behind the eye. It looks great, and for now it seems to be a good pattern. This will have to be time tested. I have also heard there is no need to get down there at the crackers, as this section is really picking up after noon. HMMM !
I will leave this report below for us spin heads as it seems to be accurate!

Spin Fishing: I did a little spin fishing the past few days and did well.
I was using both a panther martin and a vibrax blue fox both gold, and I can’t tell you what worked better. Both did the trick. It was not on fire or nothing but, I was pleased. So, if you have been thinking of fishing,,,,,,,, C’mon down, fishing is good at lees ferry. There are a couple other lures that are working well, stop by the shop and I will put you on the right track. Ted

BE SURE YOU CRIMP THE BARBS.

Oct. 25, 2009 by Lees Ferry Anglers
Report by: Ted Welling.Sunday, Oct. 25

Fly Fishing: Fishing has been reported as very good, started a little slow yesterday morning but, picked up as the day progressed. We are still wading the gravel bars, fishing a dry- dropper rig over the back eddies and a longer leader and a double nymph rig as we drift the channel. I anchored just outside 6-mile island and fished from the boat and did well using a scud and a San Juan worm. As I lifted anchor to drift that section I pulled up a pad of moss that was filled with scuds, a delightful sight. The weather has been perfect, the reason October is my favorite month to fish the ferry.

Walk in: Had a report today for this section, fished well. Most fish landed were taking the San Juan worm. Most colors are working but, the favorite is the natural or the worm brown. I have started to color the front quarter of the worm dark brown and leaving the back section tan and putting an orange collar just behind the eye. It looks great, and for now it seems to be a good pattern. This will have to be time tested. I have also heard there is no need to get down there at the crackers, as this section is really picking up after noon. HMMM !
I will leave this report below for us spin heads as it seems to be accurate!

Spin Fishing: I did a little spin fishing the past few days and did well.
I was using both a Panther Martin and a Vibrax blue fox both gold, and I can’t tell you what worked better. Both did the trick. It was not on fire or nothing but, I was pleased. So, if you have been thinking of fishing,,,,,,,, C’mon down, fishing is good at lees ferry. There are a couple other lures that are working well, stop by the shop and I will put you on the right track. Ted

BE SURE YOU CRIMP THE BARBS.


Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 9/28/09
Recent Fishing Conditions
:
Fall is in the air and the weather is near perfect with cool nights and warm days. The current water flows are a constant 10,200-cfs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These flows began on Sept. 1 and will continue until Nov.1 when normal fluctuating flows will return. This is the second year of these experimental flows and we feel that they are preferable to the extremely low fluctuating flows that normally occur this time of year.

In years past, the flows in September and October have been the lowest flows of the year and have reset the “green line” to the 5,000-cfs level from the 12,000-cfs level of the summer flows. This has effectively reduced the food supply in the river by a significant amount. Then the higher flows of November and December arrive; but because of the declining sun angle and the shade of the cliffs, photosynthesis and aquatic production in the river declines and the areas of the river that were desiccated by the low flows do not regenerate until the following spring. This will not happen this year because of the steady flows in September and October the green line will stay high.

Fishing has been good and relatively predicable. The midge hatches have been prolific and the fish are feeding on the emergers in both shallow and deep water. The current fish population is better than we have seen in many years with several different year classes present in good numbers and perfect physical condition. I cannot remember seeing such a diverse range in fish sizes; we are catching fish from 12-in to 20-in and everything in between.

You may remember from my previous reports my mention of our prolific spawn of 2007 and that the river was full of small fish that disappear from the time that they reach 3” and reappear when they are 12” long…well, they showed up in mass immediately following the 8,000 constant flow in June. They are everywhere! For the first time in many years we are catching fish of all sizes, from 10’’ to 20” which is typical of a very healthy river. The only downside is that our average fish size has dramatically decreased; the river is still chock-full of big fish but the challenge is getting your fly past the smaller and not so smart little fish.

The current health of the river is outstanding…better than it has been in years. Last year’s above normal runoff into Lake Powell delivered and stirred up countless tons of nutrients into the water and this nutrient rich water is passing through the dam and into the river. Algae is everywhere in the river and this provides food and habitat for the aquatic food base that the trout depend upon. Lake Powell rose more than 30-ft this year which is good news for the fishing and all of the people in the southwest who depend on this water for household use and electrical generation. The rising lake and the nutrient load will guarantee this trend of healthy trout populations and good fishing will continue for the next several years.

The turning point and the beginning for the recovery of the Lees Ferry fishery occurred in 2005 when Lake Powell had the first above normal snow-pack and runoff year since 1997. Last year we had almost exactly the same conditions. The above normal winter snow pack and runoff into Lake Powell in 2007-08, stirred up a tremendous amount of nutrient laden sediment that had accumulated at the lake mouths of the Colorado River, San Juan River, and the Green River. Lake Powell elevation increased 43-ft. and the rivers flowing into the lake mixed the sediment and nutrients into the lake water. It usually takes several months before we see this mixing affect. The increased nutrient load in the lake and river is evident this spring by the dramatic increase in aquatic vegetation and aquatic organisms throughout the river.

For those of you that remember what the fishing was like in 1999 and 2000…you should be as excited as I am about the current conditions and what the increased nutrient load should do for the fishing at Lees Ferry.

Lots of stuff happening at the Ferry and it is all good!

The AZ Game and Fish Department has detected whirling disease in a very small percentage of Lees Ferry trout that were collected for a random sampling. A more recent sampling turned up no sign of the disease, which may mean that it was a “one time” exposure, where the disease was not established or that the disease is present but at a very low prevalence.  Anglers should still use caution in cleaning their equipment both before and after they have fished here or in other waters. For more information visit: http://www.whirling-disease.org



LAKE MEAD –Lake Mead water level have remained fairly steady. The current level is around 1,093 feet above msl. The striper bite has been fair. Fishing under submersible lights at night can yielded large numbers of fish.  The lights are more productive when used around the new moon, on dark nights.  The last new moon was Oct. 18.  Most stripers being caught are in the 1-pound range, with occasional fish up to two pounds.  Stripers are being caught 12 to 60 feet of water.  Catfish are biting well on anchovies.  Largemouth bass are being caught in isolated coves around the lake.

Launching conditions at South Cove will continue to deteriorate as the water level continues to drop. The concrete ramp the National Park Service completed last year is one lane with cones marking the edges. Use caution not to go off the sides of the metal extensions at either side. National Park Service is working to keep the ramp open.  Temple Bar Launch Ramp is two lanes.  Launching conditions in general are better at Temple Bar than South Cove.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level is around 634 feet above msl.  Fishing for stripers and catfish has been slow. Submersible lights are very effective for stripers when used on dark nights. Bass are located both in shallow water and on fish habitat in 15-20 ft.

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove and now Shoshone.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine’s Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH – Trout are stocked every Friday. Trout anglers fishing from shore were catching trout on and around the pier area. Those successful at landing trout were fishing with salmon-egg scented Power Bait, flies, and Power worms.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

TOPOCK MARSH –No new reports.  The bite has been fair. Both bass and catfish are biting. Catfish are biting on anchovies and night crawlers.

You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – One angler reported catching good size trout and small stripers in the area of Veterans Bridge.  The striper bite has been pretty good.   Trout stocking resumed Tuesday Oct. 13.

Rainbow trout are stocked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service monthly. The fish are stocked in two locations; Davis Camp and near The Riverside. Trout fishing at the stocking sites is great immediately following the stockings, then the fish move out and you need to find them.

Anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside and off the shore of Davis Camp. USFWS will be stocking trout once a month from October until March. Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses. The 2009 Class A Fishing License goes on sale for half price in November and December. Community Park is good place for the morning fishing. Anchovies work best for catching stripers, but you may also catch catfish and trout.

The water level will go up later in the day, but it will drop after sunset. Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

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